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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agents cautious despite stronger-than-expected house price figures

The Halifax reports that house prices in the last three months, that’s between September and November, were 2.4 per cent higher than in the previous quarter - the fastest quarterly growth rate since the very start of 2017. 

It says prices in the three months to November were 3.9 per cent higher than the previous year.

“The imbalance between supply and demand continues to support house prices, which doesn’t look like changing in the near future” explains  Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax Community Bank.

“Further ahead, increasing affordability issues, as price increases continue to outstrip wage growth, are likely to curb housing demand and cause price growth to ease. We do expect the government's first-time buyer Stamp Duty changes to provide some stimulus to demand, particularly in London and the south east where the impact is greatest” he adds. 

Responding to the Halifax report, Jeremy Leaf - a north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman - says: “The Halifax numbers have tended to be a little stronger than others recently, bearing in mind the survey’s northern bias and the slowdown in the London market. On the ground, we’re finding property has to be compelling in terms of price, location or both in order to generate sufficient attention - particularly with Christmas looming.”

Meanwhile Ged McPartlin, director at Manchester-based Ascend Properties, says there remains no sign of improvement in terms of supply - hence prices are staying strong.

“Whilst developers are scrambling to bring new stock to the table, it’s just not happening quickly enough to correct the supply and demand imbalance. That being said, 2018 will be interesting as we’re likely to feel the effects of the stamp duty abolition. Already we’re seeing a hive of activity from first time buyers who are now back on the hunt due to this reprieve” he suggests. 

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